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NM has nation’s worst unemployment rate — again

New Mexico and Colorado were first in the nation in unemployment in April — but they were opposite firsts.

New Mexico’s 6.7 percent unemployment rate was the highest in the nation. Colorado’s 2.3 percent rate was the lowest.

New Mexico’s rate was the same as last month. The last time the state saw anything below that level was a year ago, and that was by only a tenth of a percentage point.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate has tumbled to 4.4 percent from 4.8 percent in January, according to the U.S. Labor Department figures released Friday. Solid hiring led unemployment rates to touch record lows in Arkansas, Colorado and Oregon. All told, 19 states had unemployment rates lower than the national average.

Among New Mexico counties, Luna in the southwest had the highest rate at 17.3 percent. The lowest was Union County in the northeast at 3.7 percent.

New Mexico last month saw a 0.9 percent gain in jobs over the past year, equaling the revised figure for March, according the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions.

Construction continued its forward march, posting the largest percentage gain of all sectors in the state at 6 percent. That’s the biggest increase for the industry since October 2006.

Across the country, nine states saw a significant number of job gains,  led by Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana was the only state to see a significant decrease in jobs last month.